Sunday, July 22, 2007

Wonder World

We went to San Antonio again this weekend. We found a couple homes and neighborhoods that we really like. Hopefully they'll still be on the market in a few weeks when we can start looking for real!

On our way home we took a detour to San Marcos, where we stopped at the Outlet Stores, and went to a place called Wonder World. This Wonder World is an underground cave, observation tower, anti-gravity house, and wildlife petting zoo, all rolled into one. Pretty random, huh? Yah, we thought so, too. But Ty loved it!

So many choices! Are we horrible parents because we didn't let him get one? Cute picture, though!

This is right before we went down in the cave. It was pretty crazy--lots of tight spots and some tricky steps. It was also quite wet down there because of all the rain water coming through (it's been raining a LOT this summer). One "room" was actually flooded so we had to take a bypass stairway. Pretty cool, though. At one point the guide turned off all the lights so it was complete darkness. A whole bunch of other kids were bawling, but Ty thought it was really cool.

We rode on a little train around the Wildlife Park/Petting Zoo portion of the tour. These deer were definitely not shy. (No worries, we washed our hands immediately after this!)

It was a good little getaway. We're only back for a couple days and then Ty and I go to Oregon for two whole weeks! I can't wait! Brad will join us for some of the time, too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not Much

I've been trying to think of what to do for this post, but I have drawn a blank! I don't have any great pictures or any wonderful subject to talk about. We haven't done anything really exciting--just normal. So I guess I'll write about normal.

I'm really starting to like it here. People are wonderful, I'm making friends, I like the area, I like the house, I like the ward, I like my Activity Days calling, I like exploring new places, generally I like Texas! And I like it here in The Woodlands area. It's funny--we've explored a lot of the little towns around, but I haven't ventured into Houston yet. The traffic really intimidates me. I haven't gone back since we dropped Mom off at Hobby airport, right after we moved here. I know, I don't get intimidated by much, but Houston is inimidating for some reason. I wasn't intimidated by Manhattan--I loved it! But we took the train in, and I had studied maps. I guess I need to get a better downtown map and study it. There's just not much reason to go downtown when we've got everything we need and more out here. I would like to go down to Galveston--I just dislike the traffic you have to go through to get there. But I think we will one of these days.

The problem with liking it here in the Houston area so much, is that we're not going to be here very long. We should find out hopefully this week whether we'll be able to move to San Antonio soon, like the first of September! I sure hope so. On our trips over there, (we have another one this weekend) we've been really looking around to find the neighborhoods we like. There are some that I really like, and others I really don't like, so I'm glad I have this chance to really explore and find the right place for us! I just want to start seriously looking, and work with realtors and lenders.

TyTy continues to do great--he likes sprinklers, swimming, stickers, still loves his "American Flag songs," (We keep re-checking the CD out from the library. I think I need to just buy one for ourselves!) really loves his Fisher Price train set that he calls Thomas. We just bought him some Diego underpants yesterday. He was so excited! He kept yelling throughout the store, "Underpants! Underpants!" I still think it will be awhile before he actually uses them, but they're there as a little incentive, I guess.

Tyler came out of nursery this Sunday laughing and yelling, "Bubble butt! Bubble butt!" I had to stifle my laughter and act serious as I asked him where he heard that. He said the kids in the nursery. (Those darn nursery kids, contaminating my child!) I told him that "butt" is a not a nice word and that we don't say it. That he could say "Bubble Bum" instead. So he ran off saying, "Bubble Bum, Bubble Bum!" Not sure that's any better, but oh well! It made me feel like my mom, getting on us every time we said Butt or Crap. Oops. I just said them. Sorry Mom.

Brad has gotten the lawn to look really nice! Well, not really nice, but at least almost normal. That was one of the only things we didn't like about this place when we moved in--the lawn was basically just a field of ugly weeds. They were seriously about two feet tall. It's taken two and a half months, but after de-bugging, de-weeding, fertilizing, transplanting, watering, mowing and trimming, we almost have a full lawn! He also trimmed the bushes up front and made a nice brick border for the flower bed. Of course the back yard is still a big field of weeds. The problem is there's a slope, and everytime it rains, it just creates big ruts. It really needs to be leveled, but the rental company won't do it. So, basically, we're just back lawn-less. Bummer, but I've come to terms with it.

I'm really proud of myself with my coupon-using and frugality. I've really been able to cut our grocery budget over time. We're very well stocked up--had to use the hall closet for our food storage since the pantry's not big enough--and I don't have to go to the store as often now, either. It's just so satisfying! I love getting great deals! My best week was when I got $110 worth of stuff for $8.39! I don't think that will happen again--all the stars were aligned just right on that one! But most weeks I save about 40-50%. The main thing is collecting coupons (paper, internet, store, etc.) and then looking at the circulars and being alert to see what the deals are for that week. Then, by combining the coupons and the store specials and store coupons, and using the coupon doubling and tripling programs (it's all automatic), you can really save. It's really just being aware of what coupons you have and what specials are out there.

Well, I'd better go get ready for the day. We're gonna go to the Library today, I think. Sorry, I hope this post wasn't too boring for y'all.


Monday, July 09, 2007

A Decade Ago

Ten years ago today I got up early, rode with my parents to the airport--on the way Dad ran over a cat, which was a bit unsettling--and we flew to Provo, where I entered the Missionary Training Center. I had an inkling perhaps, but no real idea how much my mission would affect my life.

(Yes, I am wearing the same outfit in both pictures--pretty much my whole mission, to be truthful)

Just a few of the experiences that helped shape my future:

Teaching some very elect people with love and the Spirit

Getting along with companions

Dealing with rejection

Studying and feasting on the scriptures

Working long, hard days in the heat and humidity without complaint (okay, maybe a couple complaints)

Laughing it off when I really wanted to cry

Listening to the spirit tell me truths about who I am and where I need to be

Spending much time on my knees getting to know my Heavenly Father

Overcoming fears

Pitching in to help do anything in a ward or branch or community

Loving the members, and the beauty of the land

Becoming a leader and a trainer

Leaning on the Lord alone, instead of family, friends, roommates, etc.

Having a LOT of fun along the way

Realizing I am on the Lord's side, and committing to do whatever it takes to stay there

Learning I can NEVER fully repay a debt to the Lord--he just keeps giving more blessings!

Extra Bonus, not expected, but certainly appreciated: Finding my eternal companion!

Please don't ask about the hair--we called it the"Cleveland cut of '97". That's Cleveland, Oklahoma, by the way, pop. 3200

Favorite Quotes from the Mish:

*Just go on the dirt road til you see the ceramic pig. If you get to the chicken coop, you've gone too far.

*I don't hate Mormons like all the other Baptists, but you guys do make interesting lesson topics.

*Umm...your dog just peed on me.

*Oh look! We've got roommates. The cockroach family. They must be Mormon because they've got so many kids.

*Sorry, girls, you can't come in, my husband's home...
Umm, we just passed your husband on the road. He waved to us.

*If I'd known it was going to be this good, I would have gotten up an hour earlier!

* Oh Sisters! Come on in and I'll get you a cold washcloth to wipe off your faces.

*You sisters better marry a man from the city who's never even seen a farm before!

*Dearest Missouri: No shoes, No shirt, No Gospel!

*Girl, what you doin' wearin' a torn dress?

*No, really, we're NOT hungry.

*Sisters, wake up! There's a tornado coming!

*Preciate ya

and, my #1 favorite:

*Sisters, I'm just callin' to see if you wanna see me get dunked, cause I've decided to get baptized!!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Independence Day

Well, this year was no Provo Freedom Festival, but it was nice and special in its own way. We went to a small town Festival at Magnolia's Restored Train Depot, and watched fireworks from a great, non-crowded spot on the shores of Lake Conroe. On our way home we stopped and got some frozen custard. Yummy.

Brad actually preferred celebrating the Holiday in small towns like we did instead of all the crowds. He said this was his perfect Fourth of July.

I think Tyler agrees--how can you top a day where you can explore an old train, win a cake in a cake walk, find a friend in an old Bassett Hound named Darlin', and see a whole bunch of fireworks over the water? Life is pretty sweet.

Our conversation when we got in the car to go home:
Tyler: I love fireworks. Fireworks make me so happy.
Mom: You love fireworks, huh?
Tyler: Uh-huh. I love to hug it.

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